The Hungarians put up a valiant fight under Canadian coach Lisa Haley, and apart from Christof’s two quick strikes in the first were virtually equal to the favoured Germans today.
"We've been waiting for this moment a long time," said Hungary captain Fanni Gasparics. "It was really exciting to be playing at the top level for the first time. I think we deserved a goal today, but the German goalie was good. We had some chances, but that's hockey."
Jennifer Harss stopped 19 shots for her second career shutout in WW play. Aniko Nemeth was the busier goalie at the other end, stopping 23 often dangerous shots in defeat.
"We're happy with how we started the tournament, with the win and the shutout for our goalie," said Germany coach Thomas Schadler. "We started the game a little bit shaky, but we were patient and shift by shift we played better to the end."
"I think we were a little bit nervous in the beginning," offered veteran captain Julia Zorn. "We gave the Hungarians too much time and puck possession, but the longer the game went on we played better. We didn't know a lot about them, but this is the World Championship and every team is good, so you have to take every game seriously."
"Sonja was driving to the net and I was free on the wide side," Christof explained. "My thought was just get the puck to the net, create a rebound, but it went in."
The 24-year-old Nemeth had been a key player in Hungary’s rise to the top, winning three of four games in Division I-A in 2019.
Just 58 seconds later, Christof struck again, this time on a power play. Katarina Jobst-Smith took a long shot that Christof redirected into the top corner of the goal, giving Germany a commanding 2-0 lead.
"Those goals gave us more confidence," Schadler added. "We missed some other good chances, but our defence was good the whole way."
Hungary’s best chance came near the end of the first on a thrilling end-to-end rush by Gasparics. She led the 2019 I-A tournament in scoring in both goals (6) and points (12) and showed why, wending her way through opposing players and getting a decent shot on Harss.
Early in the second Gasparics made another speedy dash down the right side before snapping a shot off Harss’s shoulder, but the puck went out of play and the Hungarians were still looking for their first goal.
Germany had a power play midway through the period. Laura Kluge failed to capitalize on two great chances, hitting the crossbar with one and firing high and wide on the second. Soon after, a Hungarian advantage produced some good pressure but no goals.
Nemeth kept her team in the game late in the middle 20 when she robbed Bernadette Karpf from a chance in close and soon after stoned Weidenfelder with a great toe save on a clever deke.
The Hungarians started strongly in the third again, nearly scoring on a giveaway to the side of the German goal, but Mira Seregely couldn't jam the puck under Harss, who read the play well.
Zorn got an insurance goal for the Germans at 12:42 of the third when she backhanded a shot high over Nemeth's shoulder. It was Zorn's first WW goal in four years after she failed to hit the back of the net in five games in 2019.
"We had some really good moments, for sure," said Haley. "Nerves came through at times. I think we had a pretty good start. It was unfortunate we were down 2-0 after the first. We sorted some things out in the second and third. Lots of positives, but we're here for wins. I think the biggest thing to take out of this game is the confidence that we gained and the experience that we gained. Experience is nothing until you have it. So we have a game under our belts feeling the pressure to win, and we have a tough game tomorrow."
Indeed, the Hungarians are back at WinSport Arena tomorrow afternoon to play the Czechs. Germany gets a day off now, not playing again until Monday against Denmark.